A MINIATURE version of the tornado that ripped through Lennox Head destroying 12 homes in 2010 was spotted at Grafton at the weekend.
Danny Foster, who managed to take a photo of the short-lived tornado, said it only lasted a few minutes.
"I was at hockey with the kids," he said.
"I looked at the clouds and it formed. It was there about two minutes."
Mr Foster said the tornado formed near Fisher Park about 2pm.
On June 3, 2010, a much larger tornado wreaked havoc at Lennox Head.
It formed from a water spout whipped up by a super cell thunderstorm off the coast that morning.
Residents who witnessed the rare event described it as like a "bomb going off".
It was reported to have been 100m wide with wind speeds in excess of 150kmh.
Tornados in Australia formed in a similar way to water spouts but were fairly uncommon, according to Bureau of Meteorology severe weather forecaster Mick Logan.
"Usually the surface of the earth will have winds going in different directions," he said.
"This makes the air under the cloud want to rotate.
"The cloud above will have an updraft that draws that air into the atmosphere and it makes the air spin faster and faster until you get the funnel cloud."
They can range in diameter from metres to hundreds of metres and generally last from a few seconds up to half an hour.
They may be short-lived but tornados are capable of lifting heavy objects like cars and trees.
Cyclones, by comparison, were large storms formed over warm tropical waters where the sea's surface temperature was above 26 degrees.
They were typically hundreds of kilometres in diameter and could last days.